New program supporting young people with complex mental health needs

Sonder, headspace Edinburgh North and headspace Onkaparinga

With a potential cohort of 1,500 youth (aged 16-25) with complex mental health needs across the Adelaide metropolitan area, investing in these young people can have pronounced positive outcomes for the individual, their family and the wider community.

Sonder and the Adelaide PHN welcome emerge – a new, free service in the outer Northern and outer Southern metropolitan regions of Adelaide for helping young people aged 16-25 years experiencing/or at risk of experiencing severe and complex mental illness. The Adelaide PHN has commissioned the emerge service as part of a suite of mental health services across the Adelaide metropolitan region.

emerge is designed to support young people aged 16-25 who are non-acute, and are deemed to be above the ‘mild-moderate’ criteria for some primary health services (inc. headspace centres). There is a specific focus on young people with presentations such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, trauma and borderline personality disorder, where these conditions are considered severe and having a significant impact on the young person’s functioning.  

Within emerge, the young person, their family or significant other, clinicians, care coordinators and peer support and functional recovery workers work together as a team towards the young person’s goals with a focus on wellness and recovery.

Sageran Naidoo, CEO of Sonder said the program is a considerable investment by the Commonwealth government and the Adelaide PHN and ‘gives young people with high level needs access to specialised, clinical, evidence-based, client and family-centred treatment. emerge is designed to be an adjunct service to headspace for young people who require extra levels of support and care. The program will operate from two, youth-friendly headspace centres operated by Sonder and will also focus on addressing some of the challenges faced during adolescence.”

How to access the service

Sonder is the lead agency for headspace Edinburgh North and headspace Onkaparinga. The emerge service will be delivered at these headspace centres and other outreach locations within the Northern and Southern regions of Adelaide. The service does not provide crisis support or assertive outreach.

emerge will commence services from Monday 11th February 2019.

No referrals will be accepted or processed prior to this date.

emerge will initially ONLY receive referrals from

  • Adelaide PHN funded primary mental health care services
  • GPs
  • young people who wish to self-refer
  • families/carers/supports wanting to refer a young person with the young person’s consent.

GPs who wish to refer a patient to the emerge service should complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan and fax this to the Central Referral Unit (CRU) on 1300 580 249.

Adelaide PHN funded primary mental health care providers can refer young people to emerge using the emerge Community Referral Form on the Sonder website

Young people can self-refer to the service, and family members/carers can refer a young person with the young person’s consent by calling our service on (08) 8209 0700

All referrals will be considered on a case by case basis to ensure that a high quality service can be provided to young people accepted into emerge whilst meeting the expected demand for the service.

Young people who are considered to be ‘at risk’ of psychosis or experiencing a first episode psychosis should be referred to the headspace Adelaide Youth Early Psychosis Program in the first instance by contacting headspace Adelaide on 1800 063 267

Sonder is in discussions with the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network to ensure that a proportion of young people currently being seen within CAMHS or other tertiary youth/adult mental health services may access the emerge service in a phased approach within the next 6 months via interagency agreements and supported transfer/s of care. At the current stage emerge will not be accepting referrals from tertiary services.

For further information, contact Sonder on (08) 8209 0700 and ask to speak with one of our friendly staff regarding emerge or visit our website